A few weeks ahead of World AIDS Day, condom manufacturer Durex kicked off an online campaign on Twitter that urges for the creation of the world's first ever safe sex emoji.
The company believes that emojis play an essential role in discussions about safe sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the use of condoms.
A research commissioned by Durex discovered new data regarding apathy towards engaging in safer sex practices.
Experts found that 80 percent of respondents who are 18 to 25 years old say that it is easier for them to express themselves using emojis. Of the 80 percent, more than half say they frequently use emojis in discussions about sex.
The research found that 84 percent of respondents feel more comfortable talking about sex when using emojis. More than one-third of the respondents claim they do not care about safe sex, while nearly half of them believe that STIs will never affect them or anyone they know.
Because of these findings, Durex has urged about 1 million people to share and use the hashtag #CondomEmoji as a way of supporting the creation of the safe sex emoji. The support gathered by the company will be included in the submission of the official safe sex emoji to the Unicode Consortium on Dec. 1 which is known as World AIDS Day.
Durex USA's Marketing Director Karen Chisholm said safe sex emojis will help young people encourage talks and overcome the embarrassment around discussing safe sex. It will also raise awareness about the importance of using condoms in being protected against STIs such as HIV and AIDS, she said.
"We hope we can help bring condoms to the forefront of the conversation and empower young couples to drive the discussion of safe sex," explained Chisholm.
Previous studies suggest that people who are under 25 years old are lax when it comes to their sexual health. A report by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that most high school students have had sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives.
"Many young people have gained their sexual knowledge through their own sexual activity and searching the internet," said Dr. Mark McCormack of Durham University.
Meanwhile, Global Director of Durex Volker Sydow said that World AIDS Day is a significant reminder about the importance of safe sex. He added the company believes that an official safe sex emoji is an empowering step towards better sexual well-being.